Conflict for nice people

By Liane Davey via http://blogs.hbr.org   Article

Conflict Strategies for Nice People

“Do you value friendly relations with your colleagues? Are you proud of being a nice person who would never pick a fight?  Unfortunately, you might be just as responsible for group dysfunction as your more combative team members. That’s because it’s a problem when you shy away from open, healthy conflict about the issues. …

Teams need conflict to function effectively.  Conflict allows the team to come to terms with difficult situations, to synthesize diverse perspectives, and to make sure solutions are well thought-out.  Conflict is uncomfortable, but it is the source of true innovation and also a critical process in identifying and mitigating risks.

Still, I meet people every day who admit that they aren’t comfortable with conflict.  They worry that disagreeing might hurt someone’s feelings or disrupt harmonious team dynamics. They fret that their perspective isn’t as valid as someone else’s, so they hold back.

Sure, pulling your punches might help you maintain your self-image as a nice person, but you do so at the cost of getting your alternative perspective on the table; at the cost of challenging faulty assumptions; and at the cost of highlighting hidden risks.  That’s a high cost to pay for nice. …

To start shifting your mindset, think about your value to the team not in how often you agree, but in how often you add unique value.  If all you’re doing is agreeing with your teammates, you’re redundant.  So start by telling yourself ‘it’s my obligation to bring a different perspective than what others are bringing.’ Grade yourself on how much value you bring on a topic.

Here are a few tips on improving your delivery:

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